A disabled water pump was the cause of the shut-in of natural gas production from the Sable Island Field offshore Nova Scotia early Tuesday morning, a spokesman for operator ExxonMobil told NGI Wednesday.

The unit is still shut in, costing production of about 400 MMcf/d (see Daily GPI, April 8).

“We’re making good progress on the piece of mechanical equipment,” said spokesman Merle MacIsaac. “There was an electrical short-circuit, and this resulted in some smoke and flame and that activated our safety response system. That was quickly brought under control, but connected to this was a water pump that was activated and it malfunctioned, and that’s the issue that is requiring time to make the repair.

“We don’t speculate on when production will return to normal, but this repair would normally take days rather than weeks to [make].”

There were no injuries, he said.

The project normally produces 400-500 MMcf/d and about 20,000 b/d of natural gas liquids, according to an ExxonMobil website. Gas production travels on Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. A pipeline operational notice Tuesday morning advised shippers that variations in gas quality were possible due to the decrease in supplies caused by the Sable Island shut-in.

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